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Oxford School District updates COVID-19 protocols

Ahead of school beginning in a couple weeks, the Oxford School District amended their COVID-19 protocols on Wednesday and provided some answers to popular questions parents were having.

School was set to begin for OSD on Monday, but the Board of Trustees voted 3-2 last week in favor of delaying the start until Aug. 24 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and surging case numbers in Lafayette County last month.

When it comes to screening the students, temperatures will be checked twice a day by a classroom teacher. The first check will take place at the start of school each day and the second check will take place after lunch. There will also be age-appropriate questions to help screen for any illness.

Masks or facial coverings are required for every person inside an Oxford School District building, classroom or outdoors on a school campus whenever it is not possible to maintain a minimum of six feet of social distancing from another person who is not in the same household. This is due to Governor Tate Reeves’ Executive Order 1517.

Students will be required to wear masks during recess as they may not always be practicing social distancing when playing with their fellow students. Each class will have its own set of play equipment and a dedicated space for recess to make it as safe as possible and help with social distancing.

The updated protocols also stated that a face shield will not count as a facial covering. A student is allowed to wear both a face shield and a facial covering at the same time.

“Due to openings both above and below the mouth and nose, it doesn’t necessarily mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” reads the section on face shields.

When OSD is notified of a positive test, parents, students and employees will be notified by 5 p.m. on the day they receive notification. All individuals who had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 are to quarantine for a period of 14 days from last exposure. Close contact is defined as being within six feet for 15 minutes or longer.

If a teacher is quarantined due to being in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, they will still continue to teach from home while quarantined if they are not physically ill. There will be a substitute teacher assigned to the classroom to help facilitate the video conference between the class and quarantined teacher and manage the classroom.

Any student found to have been in close contact may return to school after a 14-day quarantine period, dating from last exposure if they do not have a fever and are symptom-free for at least 24 hours. A student who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate at home for 14 days from the date of the positive test. They must be symptom-free and without fever for a full 24 hours before being cleared to return to school.

If a student becomes ill while at school, they will be taken to the school nurse for evaluation and separated from other students and staff. If the student has a temperature of 100.4 and/or exhibits other symptoms related to COVID-19 then the nurse will contact the student’s parents or guardian to come pick them up.